Every Child Mathematically Proficient: Top Ten Tips for Parents
- There is nothing to fear but fear itself. Regardless of your own experience with school mathematics, you can encourage your child to develop a love of math through supporting their performance, helping with school projects, and discussing their homework. Help them appreciate how a strong foundation in math can lead to great opportunities in the future.
- Stay informed. Keep yourself apprised of the specific academic standards that children are required to meet at each grade level. Let school administrators know that you support professional development for teachers so that all students can be taught by instructors who are well prepared in content and technique of mathematics training and current technology.
- Make sure your kids are taking advanced courses. Encourage your child to master Algebra and Geometry by the end of ninth grade. The mathematics students study in the middle grades has a strong effect on whether they will be able to take the higher levels of mathematics necessary for admission to college and for an increasing number of jobs.
- Be a champion for challenge. A challenging math curriculum can stimulate children to learn and can positively influence growth in other areas of their education. Advocate for mathematics reform efforts that focus on raising expectations for student performance.
- Make math fun. Spend time with kids on simple board games, puzzles, and activities that encourage better attitudes and stronger math skills. Even everyday activities such as playing with toys in a sandbox or in a tub at bath time can teach children math concepts like weight, density, and volume. Check your television listings for shows that can reinforce math skills in a practical and fun way.
- Mix in math. The kitchen is filled with tasty opportunities to teach fractional measurements, like doubling and dividing cookie recipes.
- Use real world examples to teach math. Point out ways that people use math every day to pay bills, balance their checkbooks, figure out their net earnings, make change, and tip at restaurants. Involve older children in projects that incorporate geometric and algebraic concepts like planting a garden, building a bookshelf, or figuring how long it will take to drive to your family vacation destination.
- Prepare them for a profession. Let kids know what vocations require a sound base in mathematics. Careers in carpentry, landscaping, medicine, pharmacy, aeronautics, and meteorology all require strong math skills. Let them know that they too can be successful in math. Ask local employers to sponsor school-to-work programs and career fairs.
- Tune into technology. Encourage your child to use computers and the Internet at home, your local library, and after-school programs for tasks like developing charts, graphs, maps, and spreadsheets.
- Encourage children to solve problems. Provide assistance, but let them figure it out themselves. Problem solving is a lifetime skill.
Tips are reproduced from the Learning First Alliance’s Every Child Mathematically Proficient: An Action Plan.